THE APPLE TREE

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” Martin Luther

Harvest is for sharing – or so a multitude of creatures seem to believe. The apple harvest this year is abundant. My freezer is stacked with containers of stewed apple, apple cake, toffee apple ice cream. I’ve given away bagloads of fruit, and there is still more fruit to drop off the trees into the laps of the voracious creatures on the ground.

I don’t mind the blackbirds. The sight of a blackbird feasting on a rosy apple is a delight. Not quite so pleasurable on the eye are the many mini-slugs that sniff out the apples that cushion to the grass or batter and splatter themselves onto the patio. Thanks to the monsoon conditions of the last few weeks – including the one-third of an inch of rain that fell overnight last night – slugs are on the slither, ready to crunch their jaws into my apples.

Perhaps the slugs and the hundreds of leather jackets – on the tree, in the apples, on the ground – recognise that the apples are not mine. I didn’t actually plant the tree, I haven’t watered it, talked to it, or done anything to it – other than give it an annual haircut.

I don’t begrudge the little creatures sharing the harvest. Well, not much… I give thanks, not just for apples, but beetroot, carrots, rhubarb, herbs, flowers. ‘All good gifts around us are sent from heaven above. So thank the Lord, O thank the Lord, for all his love.’ Even for slugs? Yes… Maybe… I’ll try… Probably not.

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